Going to see Star Wars:The Force Awakens - What are you seeing?

by fulltimestudent 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • fulltimestudent

    This is not an attempt to 'straightjacket' anyone into a fixed interpretative perspective. So set your mind free and see Satan and his demons if you reallynwant to adopt a possible JW perspective. Or, just sit back and watch the show and the trick affects if you want.

    Or like the UK Guardian you could see the movie in terms of dysfunction (personal and family).

    Quote: The original movies were always based on the most extraordinary nexus of personal and family dysfunction: a motor of guilt, shame and conflict. Luke was driven by an increasingly complex Freudian animus against Darth Vader; Han Solo referred to the Millennium Falcon as “she”; male audiences were encouraged both to identify with Luke and to lech over Princess Leia in her outrageous gold slave bikini – and then, with exquisite narrative sadism, we were told they were brother and sister."


    Or get really off with this interpretative take by Thorsten Pattberg* of the film:

    Star Wars is Chinese Taoism

    "STAR WARS is a space saga with aliens and superhumans. The latter are the so-called “Jedi knights” who mastered “the Force” and embark on the “Jedi’s Way.” Taoism is a 2500 years old cosmic Chinese philosophy about the Force (Qi), the Way (Dao), and about superhuman persons –the Junzi (or Daojun)- embarking on the Way of Tao."

    Star Wars is Taoism (Jedi Lords are xianren immortals)


    "Those who studied Taoism know about its fundamentals: In the beginning there was the Tao, then the Tao beget the two opposing forces: Yin and Yang. In STAR WARS we have the Force, which begets the two opposing forces: the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. The practitioners of the Way (or Tao) are heroes and antiheroes (called Jedi Masters and Sith Lords in STAR WARS). Both in STAR WARS and in Taoism, the practitioners can use powerful telekinesis and extend their life-spans considerably through self-cultivation and mediation (Shen-xiu). Both the Jedis in STAR WARS and the Daojun in Taoism practice Wu-wei –effortless action (sometimes translated as non-action). The hierarchies of practitioners in Taoism is this: First we have the superior gentleman (Junzi), then the Taoist gentleman (Daojun), followed by the Taoist sages (Shengren)."


    "The highest level in Taoism, however, is the Xianren –Taoist immortals. In the STAR WARS franchise, Darth Vadar, Master Yoda, and the Emperor are in effect (Taoist) Xianren. You can see this when even after their mortal deaths, they appear as guiding spirits (Shen) to their followers. Obi-Wan Kenobi is depicted throughout the STAR WARS franchise as rising through the ranks of a talented Junzi to a noble Daojun (when he picks his first disciple, Anakin Skywalker) and then a Shengren (sage). His first disciple, Anakin, is lost to the Dark Side. As a sage, Obi-Wan Kenobi, gets a second chance and picks his second disciple, Luke Skywalker (who will later defeat his father, Anakin). When Obi-Wan chooses to be physically killed, he does so faithfully in knowing that the Force would grant him immortality (Xianren). Last, all the persons mentioned are practicing ancient forms of martial arts (Wu) and wear Taoist robes (Daofu)."

    So when we watch this movie, are we really seeing a modern interpretation of ancient Daoism? Pattberg concludes:

    This all is NOT “new” discovery. On the contrary: EVERYONE who knows about Taoism and has seen STAR WARS knows these resemblances. George Lucas, who created the story in 1977, is not denying it. Taoist teachers all over the world use STAR WARS to explain Taoism. The internet is full of memes, such as ‘The Tao of Star Wars’ or ‘Tao Te Jedi'.

    Link: http://www.east-west-dichotomy.com/star-wars-is-chinese-taoism/

    Whether anyone sees the film from this perspective is not important. If there's a lesson to be learned, it is this. Viewers are really seeing a metaphor for the endurance of Chinese civilisation that helps us to understand how that civilisation has endured for some 3000 years and has the internal ability to keep renewing itself time after time.

    * Pattberg is a German scholar now resident in Asia, currently he is a Visiting fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia at the University of Tokyo.

  • Barrold Bonds
    Barrold Bonds

    Star Wars is quite literally children's entertainment. It's all just stuff cribbed from the old Flash Gordon serials mixed with a dash of Kurosawa (and a hint of John Ford). Don't think too deeply about it.


    It opened here in South Africa yesterday with some fanfare and not a spare ticket to be got - I will see this one for sure [I am not a SW fan ....sorry ! ]

    I know many a seasoned dub who love SW so .................I wont tell them about the Taoist connection ....yet !

  • talesin


    My only question to that premise would be that in the Force, duality is not seen in most of the characters. The Dark Side (Emperor) is totally evil. Anakin, too, is pure good, until he turns to the Dark Side and becomes Lord Vader, who (we are led to believe) is pure evil as well. This runs contrary to the balance of yin/yang in taoism, in which each entity would have a balance. On the other hand, we do see this balance in Anakin (Vader), death scene. Hmmm, it seems that the Emperor represents the pure evil, and the Jedi pure good. HA! Rather confusing, but I will have to look at this more. Now that I think about it, when Yoda was teaching Luke, we saw the beginnings of good vs. evil struggling in the young Jedi.

    It's always been my feeling that the concepts of SW was simplistic - the age-old fairy tale where the forces of good battle the forces of evil. Such nuances did not occur to me. But filmography is the literature of the modern age, and I believe, invites such analyses. Interesting thread this is, for this SW geek.


  • talesin

    Oh, to answer the OP.

    I just watched Straight Outta Compton and I highly recommend! It's the story from the people who lived it, and one of the best music biopics ever.


  • LoveUniHateExams

    The original movies were always based on the most extraordinary nexus of personal and family dysfunction: a motor of guilt, shame and conflict. Luke was driven by an increasingly complex Freudian animus against Darth Vader; Han Solo referred to the Millennium Falcon as “she”; male audiences were encouraged both to identify with Luke and to lech over Princess Leia - yes, I read this yesterday and couldn't help but chuckle at it's pomposity. And no mention of the feelings of female audiences? That's sexist, plain and simple!

    I might see the latest film with family. I hope it'll be great, but I won't read too much into it ...

  • Beth Sarim
    Beth Sarim
    I know for a fact that many JW families are discouraging their members from even attending movies such as Star Wars. Extremists.!!
  • talesin

    LovesUni - yup, just like fairy tales. Violent, they were, and have been altered in recent generations so that they don't resemble the originals very much.

    Ummm, ships are always referred to as "She".

    Right, Leia was a princess - who had the loyalty of the droids C3PO and R2D2. It was she who sent the holographic message to Obiwan. Leia! She fought side-by-side with her brother, Luke, and Han. I kinda thought she was a strong character myself, and at 18, that was new to me; except for Wonder Woman on TV and in comic books, we had few female fighters/heroes.


  • Powermetal4ever
    I watched it yesterday, and all I can say is that is was fantastic!
  • LoveUniHateExams


    Yeah, Leia was a strong character.

    And she released Han from carbonite in an attempt to rescue him from Jabba's palace, dressing as a bounty hunter.

    Sorry, just have to post a link to another Guardian article, by Zoe Williams. She witters on about the supposed political influences on Star Wars. She's apparently serious, but it's could almost be a parody.



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